Interpreting is the oral translation of speech. There are several types of interpreting, each responding to different needs.
This type of interpreting is delivered in real time, at the same time as the original speech. This style allows virtually immediate understanding of the original speech, without wasting any time. It is most often used for multilingual conferences, seminars or general assemblies and requires specialist equipment (booths, microphones, headsets, etc.). An interpreter will usually interpret for a maximum of 30 minutes before switching with another interpreter.
In this style, the interpreter waits for the speaker to finish before interpreting what has been said. It requires quick and concise note-taking throughout the speech to ensure the message is accurately rendered, and the speaker may need to pause regularly to allow time for interpreting. This is well suited to meetings and short speeches at ceremonies or cultural events, and requires no special equipment.
Whispering interpreting (Chuchotage)
Similar to simultaneous interpreting, this is perfect for bilateral meetings or when receiving a visitor. It differs, however, in that it is most suitable for one or two people and usually requires no equipment, except in specific situations when a ‘bidule’ (portable microphone and headsets) may be needed.
This is a more informal style of interpreting during which the speaker pauses after one or two sentences to allow the interpreter to quickly relay what has been said. It is mainly used for visits and business or company meetings. There is no note-taking or special equipment needed.
Spotlight: Sign language interpreting
A unique kind of simultaneous or liaison interpreting, consisting in spoken language being interpreted into sign language and vice-versa. It is intended for people who are deaf or hard of hearing at public events, speeches or even personal appointments (medical, administrative, etc.). It requires no special equipment, but it is important that the interpreter be clearly visible to the target audience.